The Story of Balaam

Numbers 22:20-35

20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.

21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.

22 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.

23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

24 But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.

25 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again.

26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.

27 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.

28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.

30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.

31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

32 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:

33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.

34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.

35 And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Here Balaam is a type of God's people. He is coming under judgment for disobedience. Notice the drawn sword in verses 23 and 31. The mention of vineyards in verse 24 is another clue, speaking of God's people. The narrow place in verse 26 speaks of the straight and narrow entrance to eternal life.

In this story, Balaam is a type of God's people; more accurately a type of our established religious institutions. Balaam's ass, however, is a type of the prophets and intercessors among God's people. You can see that the ass is clearly able to see the coming judgments, while Balaam is clueless. This is prophetic vision and insight. The ass also takes various actions to avoid the judgments and tries to warn Balaam. Up to a certain point, Balaam ignores the ass, then he begins to attack the ass. This speaks of the persecution of the prophets of old and the prophetic remnant of today. Eventually the Lord opens Balaam's eyes and reveals himself. And the aspect of himself that he reveals is that of the destroying angel carrying out judgments. This is the drawn sword, and The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Immediately Balaam's response is the correct one, repentance and worship. Then the Lord shows mercy and allows him to pass thru the narrow place. This tells of entering into the kingdom. Balaam receives a commission and strict instructions to obey. This tells us that the established religious institutions will not begin to repent till they actually see the judgments being carried out, and understand that they are from God.

Now this is not to say that all end time judgments can be stopped or the time of tribulation cancelled. That would be like someone who figures when anti-Christ shows up, all we have to do is cast the devil out of him and everything will be ok. I don't think so!

It's not very likely because all these things have to happen, and scriptures must be fulfilled. But it does show us how we should be responding: with repentance, worship and obedience. Once God's purposes are accomplished in one area, he will move on to judge other areas. Once Zion is redeemed with judgment, he will move on to reaping the harvest. And other judgments will be required for that.

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